Education a university for the real world

Real-world experience

What is professional experience?

Professional experience placements give you the opportunity to work in real school classrooms or early childhood settings, supervised by practising professional educators.

You may be able to complete your professional experience:

  • in South-East Queensland
  • in rural and remote locations across Queensland
  • interstate
  • overseas, including across South-East Asia.

Do I have to complete professional experience placements?

You'll be required to complete professional experience placements if you're studying:

  • Bachelor of Education (except for the inservice degree)
  • Master of Teaching
  • some postgraduate specialisations, including Early Childhood Teaching, School and Guidance Counselling, and Teacher-Librarianship.

Internships for Bachelor of Education students

If you're a Bachelor of Education student who studies on campus, you must also complete a four-week internship at the end of your course. You do your internship at the school or centre where you did your final professional experience.

Your internship supports your transition from student to teacher. You'll have greater responsibility, with a 50% teaching load and associate teacher status. Your supervising teacher will now be your mentor teacher, guiding and preparing you for your next steps as a teacher practitioner.

When will I do professional experience placements?

There are set dates for each field experience period and you must complete your professional experience within these dates.

You must be 18 to participate in a professional experience placement. If you're not 18 yet, this may affect your progression in the course, so check with your course coordinator before your enrol in professional experience units.

Where can I go on professional experience?

Rural and remote locations

Our students have completed their professional experience in rural and remote locations across Queensland from Roma to Birdsville.

International professional experiences

Our students have completed international professional experiences at schools including:

  • St Christopher's School (primary) and the Uplands School (secondary), Penang, Malaysia
  • Teeratada Phitsanulok School, Northern Thailand
  • United Nations International School, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • The Regent's School, Pattaya, Thailand
  • Yew Chung International School, Shanghai, China
  • The Woodland International School, Hong Kong
  • The Australian International School, Singapore.

Can I choose where I do my professional experience?

Placements are organised by our Professional Experience Office.

You may be able to nominate your preferred locations for professional experience, but you can't request placement at specific schools or centres.

You must complete most of your supervised professional experience in Australia.

Within South-East Queensland, you may be required to travel up to one-and-a-half hours between your home and your placement.

You may be eligible for financial support and accommodation in certain rural and remote locations through a bursary or PCAP (Priority Country Area Program).

Do I need a blue card?

As a pre-service teacher, you must undergo a criminal history check prior to undertaking professional experience in a school or early childhood centre, or undertaking activities in any unit which may involve contact with children or young people (under 18 years).

You'll be required to lodge your blue card application on commencement of studies and must obtain the blue card and have it registered with QUT before commencing your first professional experience placement.

If you hold an existing offer with a blue card condition for Education courses, you are not required to submit your blue card application to accept your offer. You are permitted to lodge your blue card application upon commencement of your studies.

How do I fit professional experience into my life?

Professional experience is a full-time commitment. Even if you're studying part time, you're required to attend for the full school day.

If you work, you'll need to organise to take time off to complete your professional experience. You'll also need to make alternative arrangements for responsibilities like dropping off and picking up your children, if they would disrupt your placement.

You won't be paid for professional experience placements. You can apply for financial assistance if this is going to cause you financial hardship.

You don't attend classes while you're on professional experience.

Work integrated learning

Often it's the extra activities that get you noticed when starting out as a teacher. Our extensive networks with schools and the broader education community provide opportunities to gain experience in addition to the standard field experience. In our Bachelor of Education degrees, you may have the opportunity to participate in extra programs in schools or the early childhood sector, or to help make a difference in the community.

Design an early learning centre

QUT early childhood students work with design students to plan a sustainable childcare and research centre at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Early childhood students bring their expert advice to the project and gain experience working in collaborative professional teams. Each team delivers a genuine functional design proposal for consideration by the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

FIRST LEGO League

This robotics competition, open to students aged 9 - 16 years, is hosted by QUT. Our education students are on the judging panels and participate in a range of hands-on activities to familiarise themselves with the robotics technology and learn how to implement this technology in their teaching activities.

Out of the Box

Out of the Box at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre is a unique cultural and arts event for children aged eight years and under. Our early childhood students volunteer at the festival and are assessed on their ability to engage with children in various community arts activities. Students practise what they learn in class while working with children in a fun, non-traditional environment. Early childhood students also host a day of activities for young children at QUT.

Overseas experience

You can apply for opportunities to gain valuable experience of education systems in other countries. For example, a group of education students spent two weeks in Malaysia participating in cultural and historical site visits, intercultural workshops and a visit to the Australian High Commission. The students attended classes with Malaysian student teachers and also visited a number of schools. They taught a 30-minute lesson about Australia using Australian storybooks, which were donated to the schools. In recent years QUT has also offered similar experiences in Bhutan and USA.

Service Learning Program

Final-year students from the primary and secondary bachelor programs are provided with an opportunity to gain unique, valuable experience with real service organisations to complement their study of inclusion in education.

School Community Integrated Learning pathway

Primary students have the opportunity to become a part of a school learning community as a resident preservice teacher in their fourth year. The students are immersed in the school's community and observe the inner workings of a school such as set up of classrooms and planning from day one so that they enter the profession better prepared.

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